Fertility and Urban Context: A Case Study from West Africa Using Remotely Sensed Imagery and GIS

Magdalena Benza, San Diego State University
John R. Weeks, San Diego State University
Douglas A. Stow, San Diego State University
David Lopez-Carr, University of California, Santa Barbara
Keith Clarke, University of California, Santa Barbara

In sub-Saharan Africa rapid urban growth combined with rising poverty is creating diverse urban environments inhabited by people with a wide variety of lifestyles. This research examines how spatial patterns of land cover in a southern portion of the West African country of Ghana are associated with fertility. Satellite imagery and landscape metrics are used to create an urban context definition based on landscape patterns using a gradient approach. Census data are used to estimate fertility and characterize women, head of households and housing, and the association between urban context and fertility is modeled through OLS regression and spatial autoregressive models. Results indicate that there are significant differences in fertility between different urban contexts, with below average fertility levels found in the most urbanized end of the urban context definition and above average fertility levels found on the opposite end.

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Presented in Session 173: Social and Economic Factors and Fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa